The project investigates the hypothesis that the current growth in conservative Salafi movements in the Middle East largely involves a repetition of the social and ideological dynamics that once produced modern Islamism, and that when these movements becomes politicised they will, over time, undergo a similar development to the Muslim Brotherhood, namely towards pragmatism and a more liberal interpretation of Islam.

Researcher: Bjørn Olav Utvik

Tuastad will study the political implications of changes in patriarchal structures in the Middle East. Two parallel and seemingly opposing processes are underway simultaneously: on the one hand a weakening of patriarchal structures and on the other a consolidation of patrilinear, pathriarchical bonds in local and national politics.

Researcher: Dag Tuastad

The Islamic Movement in Israel is the largest religious-political movement among Palestinian citizens of Israel. It was established in the later 1970s and has since the mid-1980s been represented at municipal and local level in Palestinians-dominated towns in Israel. The Movement has since its split in 1996 had two branches and its leaders are today at the forefront of protests against discrimination of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, as well as of campaigns to defend the al-Aqsa mosque in al-Quds/Jerusalem.

Researcher: Tilde Rosmer

The 2011 Arab uprisings heralded widespread revolt against authoritarian regimes. In parallel, discontent with traditional forms of political representation and social organization was observable. For instance, women claimed their place in the public sphere. They marched and demanded democratic reforms, and they questioned the patriarchal underpinnings of authoritarian rule in an unprecedented way since the 1970s.

Researcher: Rania Maktabi

The ongoing civil war in Syria is expected to have multiple and long-term consequences for the region. One of the oft-mentioned fallouts is the increased visibility and growing military strength of the jihadi current, especially the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) whose large number of foreign fighters and territorial consolidation in Northern Syria are considered a particular menacing threat.

Researcher: Brynjar Lia

With the outbreak of a popular uprising in Syria, which has turned into a de facto civil war, Lebanon has become a hub for all sides in the conflict. Money, weapons and foreign fighters enter Syria, but also religious ideas and ideologies, through transnational networks originating or ending up in Lebanon.

Researcher: Kai Kverme

Since its accession to power in 2002, Turkey´s Justice and Development party (AKP) has tested the ideological foundations of the Turkish secular state. This has had an impact both internally, reshaping state-society relations, and externally, introducing a new dynamic to its foreign affairs. Turkey´s Muslim identity has become an identity bearer on the international stage with the result that the country has adopted a regional leadership position. However, the initial fervor with which Turkey was branded a “model” for the Arab World has waned in light of domestic challenges - the greatest among these being Turkey`s unresolved Kurdish issue.

Researcher: Pinar Tank